Composer: Raff Joachim
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Joseph Joachim Raff (27 May 1822– 24 or 25 June 1882) was a German-Swiss composer, pedagogue and pianist.
Raff was born in Lachen in Switzerland. His father, a teacher, had fled there from Württemberg in 1810 to escape forced recruitment into the military of that southwestern German state that had to fight for Napoleon in Russia. Joachim was largely self-taught in music, studying the subject while working as a schoolmaster in Schmerikon, Schwyz and Rapperswil. He sent some of his piano compositions to Felix Mendelssohn who recommended them to Breitkopf & Härtel for publication. They were published in 1844 and received a favourable review in Robert Schumann's journal, the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, which prompted Raff to go to Zürich and take up composition full-time.
In 1845, Raff walked to Basel to hear Franz Liszt play the piano. After a period in Stuttgart where he became friends with the conductor Hans von Bülow, he worked as Liszt's assistant at Weimar from 1850 to 1853. During this time he helped Liszt in the orchestration of several of his works, claiming to have had a major part in orchestrating the symphonic poem Tasso. In 1851, Raff's opera König Alfred was staged in Weimar, and five years later he moved to Wiesbaden where he largely devoted himself to composition. From 1878 he was the first Director of, and a teacher at, the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt. There he employed Clara Schumann and a number of other eminent musicians as teachers, and established a class specifically for female composers. (This was at a time when women composers were not taken very seriously.) His pupils there included Edward MacDowell and Alexander Ritter. See: List of music students by teacher: R to S#Joachim Raff.
He died in Frankfurt on the night of June 24/25, 1882. His tomb is in Hauptfriedhof Frankfurt.
Raff was very prolific, and by the end of his life was one of the best known German composers, though his work is largely forgotten today. (Only one piece, a cavatina for violin and piano, is performed with any regularity today, sometimes as an encore.) He drew influence from a variety of sources - his eleven symphonies, for example, combine the Classical symphonic form, with the Romantic penchant for program music and contrapuntal orchestral writing which harks back to the Baroque. Most of these symphonies carry descriptive titles including In the Forest (No. 3), Lenore (No. 5) and To the Fatherland (No. 1), a very large-scale work lasting around seventy minutes. His last four symphonies make up a quartet of works based on the four seasons. A complete cycle of all his symphonies and many other orchestral works was recorded in the early 2000s by the Bamberg Symphony under Hans Stadlmair.
Raff's Symphony No. 3 "In the Forest" was enthusiastically received by the audience at that time, spread quickly to England and America and was one of the most played orchestral pieces in the world at the end of the 19th century. It fell into oblivion together with Raff himself, but influenced many later romantic composers including Tchaikovsky in his famous "Pathétique" for example. Arturo Toscanini conducted some performances of the symphony in 1931.
The Lenore symphony (No. 5), famous in its time, was inspired by a ballad of the same name by Gottfried August Bürger that also inspired works by several other composers, including Maria Theresia von Paradis (1789), Henri Duparc, Franz Liszt (late 1850s, mentioned by Alan Walker in his Liszt biography vol. 2), for example. The world premiere recording of Lenore was made in 1970 by the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Bernard Herrmann, who championed Raff's orchestral music. He described it as "one of the finest examples of the Romantic Programme School - it deserves a place alongside the Symphonie fantastique of Berlioz, Liszt's Faust Symphony and the Manfred Symphony of Tchaikovsky".
Richard Strauss was a pupil of Hans von Bülow, a friend of Raff's, and it has been said that Strauss was influenced in his early works by Raff. For example, Raff's Symphony No. 7 In the Alps (1877) could be compared with Strauss's An Alpine Symphony (1915). Much of Raff's music has been said to forecast the early works of Jean Sibelius.
Raff also composed in most other genres, including concertos, opera, chamber music and works for solo piano. His chamber works include five violin sonatas, a cello sonata, a piano quintet, two piano quartets, a string sextet and four piano trios. Many of these works are now commercially recorded. He also wrote numerous suites, some for smaller groups (there are suites for piano solo and suites for string quartet), some for orchestra and one each for piano and orchestra and violin and orchestra.
Raff's works include:
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As an expert in classical music, I would like to provide you with some information about the concepts related to this article. The article discusses the Valse-impromptu à la tyrolienne, WoO.28 composed by Joachim Raff, a German-Swiss composer, pedagogue, and pianist.
Joachim Raff, born on May 27, 1822, in Lachen, Switzerland, was largely self-taught in music. He studied the subject while working as a schoolmaster in various places such as Schmerikon, Schwyz, and Rapperswil. Raff's talent and passion for music led him to send some of his piano compositions to Felix Mendelssohn, who recommended them to the publishing house Breitkopf & Härtel. These compositions were published in 1844 and received a favorable review in Robert Schumann's journal, the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik. This positive response encouraged Raff to pursue composition full-time.
In 1845, Raff walked to Basel to hear Franz Liszt play the piano. This encounter led to a friendship with the conductor Hans von Bülow, and Raff eventually became Liszt's assistant at Weimar from 1850 to 1853. During this time, Raff assisted Liszt in orchestrating several of his works, claiming to have had a significant role in the orchestration of the symphonic poem Tasso. Raff's opera, König Alfred, was staged in Weimar in 1851. Five years later, he moved to Wiesbaden, where he dedicated himself primarily to composition.
Raff's career continued to flourish, and in 1878, he became the first Director of the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt. While there, he employed notable musicians such as Clara Schumann and established a class specifically for female composers, a groundbreaking move considering the time's attitudes towards women composers. Raff's students included Edward MacDowell and Alexander Ritter.
Raff's compositions were diverse and abundant, and by the end of his life, he was one of the best-known German composers. However, much of his work has been forgotten today, except for a cavatina for violin and piano, which is still occasionally performed as an encore.
Raff drew influence from various sources in his compositions. His symphonies, eleven in total, merged the classical symphonic form with the romantic inclination for program music and contrapuntal orchestral writing reminiscent of the Baroque era. Many of his symphonies carry descriptive titles, such as "In the Forest" (No. 3), "Lenore" (No. 5), and "To the Fatherland" (No. 1), which is a grand-scale composition lasting approximately seventy minutes. His last four symphonies form a quartet of works based on the four seasons.
Raff's Symphony No. 3, "In the Forest," was particularly well-received during his time and quickly gained popularity in England and America. It became one of the most frequently performed orchestral pieces in the world at the end of the 19th century. This symphony also influenced later romantic composers, including Tchaikovsky in his famous "Pathétique" symphony.
Another notable work by Raff is the Lenore symphony (No. 5), inspired by a ballad of the same name by Gottfried August Bürger. This ballad also inspired works by other composers, such as Maria Theresia von Paradis, Henri Duparc, and Franz Liszt. The world premiere recording of Lenore was made in 1970 by the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Bernard Herrmann, who praised Raff's orchestral music and compared it to the works of Berlioz, Liszt, and Tchaikovsky.
Raff's influence extended to other composers as well. Richard Strauss, who was a pupil of Hans von Bülow, a friend of Raff's, was said to be influenced by Raff's early works. Raff's Symphony No. 7, "In the Alps," written in 1877, can be compared to Strauss's "An Alpine Symphony" composed in 1915. Additionally, Raff's music has been noted for foreshadowing the early works of Jean Sibelius.
Apart from symphonies, Raff composed in various genres, including concertos, opera, chamber music, and solo piano works. His chamber works encompass five violin sonatas, a cello sonata, a piano quintet, two piano quartets, a string sextet, and four piano trios. Many of these works are now commercially recorded. Raff also composed numerous suites for smaller groups, orchestras, and combinations such as piano and orchestra, and violin and orchestra.
In summary, Joachim Raff was a prolific composer who made significant contributions to the classical music world. His compositions, although largely forgotten today, were diverse and influenced many composers of his time and beyond.